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Tet 2018


Top dishes to make your Mekong River trip more memorable

Vietnam is globally known for its sophisticated mouth-watering cuisine. And furthermore, every province of Vietnam boasts their own unique delicacies. This will keep you busy for years discovering all the tasty specialties of each region.

Let’s get to the main point: the ten best foods of Mekong Delta. This list is made up of five dishes of the Mekong Delta. Put your boots on and get to the swamps!

Tropical Fruit Paradise of Cai Be Floating Market

If you think you know fruit, you don’t really know fruit until you visit this market. There is a whole ton of fruit to try, probably fruit that you can’t find anywhere else in good, fresh quality. Most of the strange colors, shapes, and textures may not look familiar, but trust me, they taste awesome (except maybe durian). Let me name some: coconut, nipa palm fruit (dua nuoc), mango, milk apple (pomme de lait – vu sua), pineapple, longan fruit (nhan), rambutan (chom chom), jackfruit (mit), mangosteen (mang cut), sugar-apple (mang cau), banana, dragon fruit (thanh long), and some that I don’t even remember.

Top dishes to make your Mekong River trip more memorable
Photo by hieu.ricky
Fruits are self-explanatory, just try them out if you’re curious. The awesome thing is, you can get all these freshly-picked from the tree in Tien Giang also! The locals have a variety of dishes and drinks made with these fruits, try it out: fried banana, nipa palm fruit juice, fruit jellies (rau cau), and fresh fruit smoothies (sinh to).

Hu Tieu My Tho – Assorted Rice Noodle Soup

Pho, Bun Bo, and Hu Tieu are the three most well-known Vietnamese noodle soup dishes that you can even find overseas. This has lead to the appearance of too many versions and modifications, making it difficult to get the best and the most original soups. You should get pho in Hanoi, bun bo in Hue, and lastly, hu tieu in My Tho for the ultimate authenticity.

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Photo by SauceSupreme
Unlike any hu tieu vendor anywhere else, the first moment you will be overwhelmed by the inventory on the table: fish sauce, soy sauce, chili sauce, black bean sauce, lime cuts, bean sprouts, whole tiny hot chilies, sliced big colorful chilies, pickled chilies, garlic and onion, and a basket of local herbs. Then you get spirited away by the appearance and the fragrance of a heavenly bowl of soup.

Hu Tieu My Tho consists of locally-made rice noodles, fresh shrimp, pork and pig liver cuts, stir-fried ground pork, sautéed minced garlic, and a squeeze of lime. The broth is a mind-blowing consommé that once riddled Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsay, and the 2013 MasterChef runner-ups: “The assault of flavors right away.”

it is made by simmering seared ginger, grilled onion, caramelized pineapple, a combination of beef, chicken and pork bones, and dried seafood up to 8 hours with a mixture of spices for the finish.

Lau Ca Linh Bong Dien Dien – Freshwater Fish with River Hemp Flower Hot Pot

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Photo by collect on the internet
Flood season has become a part of Dong Thap locals’ lives. They have adapted to survive the floods, making the people tough and vibrant; but because of this adversity, they have warm hearts that highly value family gathering dinners. Foods that always appear on the dining table (or straw mat) every evening are spicy fish or meat stew, crunchy fried fish, and a steaming hot pot with a lot of greens. Ca linh – a type of local freshwater fish, and bong dien dien – river hemp flower, are hearty gifts from mother nature to encourage Dong Thap people to live through the floods.

Bun Ca, Long Xuyen – “Smooth” Rice Noodle with Fish

Bun ca Long Xuyen is the favorite dish of the city, whoever comes here will always be greeted with a bowl of Bun ca as an act of hospitality. While other regions use words like “excellent, top, and the best” to describe their cuisine, Long Xuyen locals will just describe theirs as “smooth.” And yes, the dish is very smooth.

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Photo by I.T
The selling point of Bun ca is its yellow broth and the yellow Snakehead fish slice, the yellow color from turmeric. The soup is really smooth and rich with a subtle turmeric and lemongrass aroma, and you will be astonished by its sweetness. The broth is made with fish and pork bones, creating that mind-blowing sweetness. Topped with water mimosa flower (Rau nhut), morning glory (Rau muong), and strips of young banana, these tart and flavorful raw vegetables act as a break, capturing all the smooth flavors and letting them linger on your taste buds.

Lau Mam, Chau Doc – Mekong Delta in a Hot Pot

Chau Doc city is the top pilgrimage destination of the Mekong Delta, surrounded by charming sceneries: ranges of blooming mountains and vast rice fields along the crossways of the Mekong River. There, the Vietnamese, the Cham, and the Khmer people live together in harmony, have built a complex of Buddhism pagodas, Hindu temples, Islam mosques, and many other religious sites. This gave birth to the one and only Chau Doc cuisine with originality and traditions of many cultures. Therefore, Chau Doc is also known as “the kingdom of fermented pastes,” a typical seasoning condiment that defines Southeast Asian culture.

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Photo by collect on the internet
Located within the intersection of cultures and the branches of the Mekong River, Chau Doc is blessed with plenty of freshwater fauna, creating hundreds of fermented pastes – Mam – from different types of fishes, shrimps, and crabs. The most popular one would be mam Thai – Thai fermented paste or “Pla-ra” in Thai, which is sold everywhere. There are also specialties that resemble those found in Cambodia, Indonesia, and Malaysia like Prahok, Terasi, and Belacan.  Yet, the most precious and most valued fermented pastes are the local creations: mam sac, mam tren, and mam linh. The mam of Chau Doc is usually subtly sweet with deep saltiness, which is a heavenly good pairing with a hot bowl of white rice on a rainy day of the flood season.

This list of the 5 best dishes hardly encompasses the Mekong Delta cuisine. It is the hearty, homey, the subtle scents, the lingering tastes that engrave an unforgettable experience in the travelers’ memory when they have a chance to visit the Mekong Delta. To truly experience the Mekong Delta tour, you can take part in exploring it on an adventure to Mekong Delta.
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Item Reviewed: Top dishes to make your Mekong River trip more memorable Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nga Đỗ
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